Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:30 am
William Basinski has lived on both American coasts, but I know a Southern gentleman when I hear one. The ambient music composer, who grew up in Texas, is on vacation visiting the Celeste ranch of his partner James Elaine's family when I call him — "I just fed the horses apples," he mentions — and is just as sweet as I'd heard from colleagues. He pauses long between words, measuring each one because the weight of each word is just as important as its meaning.
These days it's not unusual to find classical musicians performing in unlikely venues — pubs, clubs and out-of-the-way places. But long before this trend took hold there was Matt Haimovitz. Ten years ago, the intrepid cellist lugged his instrument across the country, bringing music by J.S. Bach to barrooms, coffeehouses and even Manhattan's famous punk club CBGB.
Graffiti artists often lurk in the dark of night, and work under a cloak of anonymity. They hold their spray cans confidently as they wait to tag their next target, be it an unassuming wall or an abandoned building. Graffiti also shows up in pop culture and prestigious art galleries. Is it art or anti-social behavior?
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:41 pm
There are those who consider John Cage to be one of America's most important avant-garde composers, and consequently the recent flurry of celebrations and album releases honoring what would have been his 100th birthday continues. On the other hand, many conservative listeners tend to dismiss his pieces as preposterous gimmickry, rendering the performers little more than Foley artists.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:55 am
Over the course of an exceptionally long and productive life, the late Elliott Carter was championed by many leading conductors, soloists and ensembles. Among the most prominent is pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who has premiered many of Carter's works.
One hundred fifty years ago today, Giuseppe Verdi first mounted his opera La Forza del Destino ("The Force of Destiny") on a stage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Today, La Forza is considered one of Verdi's masterpieces, but it wasn't always that way. The story of Don Alvaro, whose love for the aristocratic Leonora incurs the wrath of her family, is violent and chaotic, and it flopped on its first run.
When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.
Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.